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Exterior Of Home

Posted by carbro (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 2, 12 at 17:37

My husband and I, first-time home builders, collaborated on a home design, and I am unsure about the exterior. I do like the interior.
It has been suggested that we use stone on the middle part of the house, shake on the dog trots, shake on the windows, and painted brick on the rest. I am seriously considering using all stone and shake, but that can be expensive. I just don't want it to look ugly.

Also, the dogtrots have turned into actual rooms, therefore, we are considering bringing up the pitch on those roofs. My husband loves the dogtrot rooms, I on the other hand am afraid they are going to look "weird".

Lastly, the lower windows by the front door. Should they be larger, should they be French Doors? Any suggestions?
And the windows on the garage front look lower than the rest of the windows on the lower level. Is that normal? Would another type of window look good there?

Any ideas?? Thanks so much!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Exterior Of Home

The drawings will need to be considerably larger in order for anyone to understand them.

I also helps to have a plan.


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RE: Exterior Of Home

Are those flat roofs on the connecting sections between main part of house and the left & right wings?

Dog trots? Do you mean Dormers?


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Your proposed house mimics historical houses where the original house was built, followed by subsequent additions to the original dwelling, at a later time. Colonial houses, in particular, were built and later enlarged in this very way--a center house, later expanded in either direction with smaller house additions.

IMO, the most expensive materials would be used for the original building, ie, stone masonry on the center structure. The later additions, the "dog trots" (which they actually are not--dog trots were an entirely different type of stucture, an open space between two enclosed building forms) and the other structures would more likely have used cement plaster, board and batten or some other less expensive material. Almost certainly not brick, if the original center portion was not brick.

As to the windows in the garage (I assume it to be the larger mass to the right on the front elevation), it appears that the head of the windows is lower than the head of all of the other fenestration elsewhere. Align the window heads across the elevation at the same height and all will look proper.

As to french doors across the front elevation, it's a personal choice. In the south, this was common since the climate encouraged outdoor living. In the north, it was unheard of. French doors (even fixed ones) are much more expensive than single windows, if budget is important. IMO, what is shown (windows with transom panels) is very appealing and historically appropriate.

Good luck on your project.


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Thank you all. I really appreciate these timely responses. The architect will be completing these plans by the end of next week, so I am in a bit of a hurry to try to make them the best that they can be. I tried to upload a larger exterior picture. I am having to change pdf to jpg which is not easy for me to do. I am using Windows Paint. :-)

The siding on the connecting sections right now are shake. They are not flat roofs, but I was wondering if the pitch should be taller. Would that make this home look better? The middle section of this home is stone. The Master Bedroom is the farthest section on the left. And the larger section on the right is the garage, which I would love for it to be smaller, but the architect said that it has to be this large. Thank you for the suggestion about aligning the windows. Would any other type of window look better?

It has been suggested that the Master Section and the Garage should be painted brick in order to save $ instead of using stone. What do you think?

Again, thank you all so very much for your honest opinions. It is refreshing to have people/professionals to offer objective advice.


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FWIW, I would chose more historically correct materials. I would leave the center section using natural field stone. But for the "dog trots" (which they aren't)and the other structures (garage and MBR), I'd make them either wood siding or cement plaster, whichever you prefer. Both are historically corret; shingles are not. The wood siding options could be: 1) vertical board and batten; or 2) horizontal lap sidiing. Either will be much less expensive than brick veneer.

Looking at the elevations, your MBR looks small; less than half the size of the garage. I would use the same style window and shutter there as on the garage.

Good luck on your project!


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Carbro, here's an example of how typical colonial houses were designed and built, and over time, perhaps generations, were enlarged with extensions off one side and then another. I have no connection with this architect or plan, but it is an iconic illustration of colonial houses and their expansion, even though this is a reproduction house.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://russellversaci.com/sf_sawyer.pdf


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Thank you virgilcarter. I uploaded the floor plan so that you could see the MBR/Bath. The garage is taller, because this home was designed to be multi-generational. There is an upstairs garage apt., and in the future off of the kitchen, we are going to add on a sunroom that connects to a cottage for my aging in-laws. The sunroom will be able to be used by my family and the in-laws.

Thank you for your advice about exterior materials. I am very appreciative. Instead of using the wood siding or plaster, what if it was all stone? Would that be too much? Do you have ideas for the Master Bed/Bath? Lastly, the roof pitch of the connecting rooms...should they be higher?


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For safety, please change your MB WC door swing. In short, if you haven't read this on this forum before--
An inswing door in a small room is a safety issue. The hinges for an inswing door are on the inside of the room, and therefore not accessible to EMTs for removal of the door should someone experience medical issues in the WC. Additionally, since the WC is so small, if a person passes out in the room, the only place for them to fall is against the door. It is very difficult/impossible to move that "dead weight". Many minutes can be lost trying to get at the person who needs the help. For this reason, small rooms should have outswing or pocket style doors.
For you, this will require a redesign of your MB WC (unless there is room to put a pocket door into the closet wall for the WC)


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All stone? Using only one common material would certainly unify the exterior elevations, but it may also add to the visual bulk and massiveness. Then there's the budget: stone is one of the most expensive siding materials, due to the skill and labor required to install it properly. if you can afford it, I'd consider all stone. I don't think I'd use 3 major materials as I understand is being proposed, ie, stone, wood shingle and brick. That's just too much on a relatively small structure, IMO.

Master bedroom and bath look fine to me, but kirkhall raises a good point to consider.

Roof pitch of connecting rooms could be 4/12 or greater and still give the look you are seeking. I don't know what the pitches of the other roofs are, but the roofs over the connecting rooms could be the same. Since the width of these rooms is less than that of the larger adjacent rooms the roofs of the connecting rooms will still be smaller and lower as they need to be for this design. Pitch is up to you, I think.

Good luck!


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I love this style house! I would do all stone on the center portion. I would eliminate the center dormer - it doesn't seem to go with the house - and do double hung windows instead of casements. That would allow for more architecturally correct dormers.

I also might raise the roof pitch slightly on what you call the "dog trots".

I would use lap siding for the "dog trots" and probably for the remaining house as well. The wings are sort of throwing me off . . .

There was a member who built a similar house on here from North Carolina - can't remember her name. It was lovely. She also had several architects she looked at for inspiration that build this sort of house.

Versaci has several pretty stone houses that look added on to like yours.

Here is a link that might be useful: Versaci new old house


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Remembered her name!

Mythreesonsnc! Search for her posts and you should find a wealth of pictures and information.


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Another option

Here is another pretty stone house with a mix of stone and siding. It is by Stan Dixon, an Atlanta architect.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stan Dixon Stone House


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Another pretty stone house in Atlanta

Here is another pretty stone house in Atlanta - designed by Norman Askins. They use a mix of stone and lap siding.

Here is a link that might be useful: Norman Askins stone house


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Your house looks VERY similar to this one.


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Excellent comments! Thank you all very much. Yes, gaonmymind that pic does look VERY similar. Wow! I like the stone that they used. Is there a name for that type of stone? Our windows on the porch are smaller casement windows. How do you like those french doors across the front? I see that they also used brick on the adjacent structures. We are trying to decide what materials to use and this brick doesn't look bad, even though it has been suggested to use lap siding. Trying to put a color scheme together is a challenge for me. I have seen some homes whose owners have done it very well, and then others that look like they made a huge mistake. I am trying to avoid the latter by getting ideas from you guys. :-) I am posting a pic of a home that used the cement plaster. I wonder if anyone has an opinion on what shade we could use if the extension rooms were cement plaster or lap siding.


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This home also looks similar to our home design in that it has the smaller rooms on either side of the middle structure linking the whole house together.


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The one with brick wings look like they are limewashed white. I like them! I think brick would be hard to get right with the stone, and needless to say will cost significantly more than the lap siding. A standard brick, even one made to look washed, may not give you the historical look your house is striving for.

I notice the Nashville one used brick, stone and lap siding on different sections. Funny how much it looks like your hosue! I like the middle window on that house with the wider double hung windows. I also love the french doors across the porch rather than the skinnier casements you show. Double hungs cost much less than casements, so a change from casements to double hungs would be much more budget friendly.

I also think you could do long windows across the porch rather than the doors . . . that would also be more budget friendly. French doors are expensive! I wish someone had told me that before I put in 8 of them ;)


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Great ideas athensmomof3. Assuming we use the lap siding, do you think white is the best choice? Stone on the middle section and then white on the connecting rooms and end sections. Wooden front door and wooden shutters. I am uploading the view of the side of the house with the chimney, the upstairs layout of the children's rooms and small media room, and the opposite side of the house. We are putting a washer and dryer upstairs for the kids since they are old enough to do their own laundry. I feel that the pitch on the connecting rooms is too low, but the architect is hesitant about raising the pitch of the connecting rooms, because she said it would cause us to lose the girl's bathroom window. (which I love..the 2 small windows on either side of the chimney.) The one that connects to the garage, she said would be easier, but we would have to change that side window to 2 instead of 3. I appreciate all of the ideas, it is hard to think through this on my own. My DH encourages me to handle all of this, but I do not feel knowledgeable enough. I know there are interior decorators to help with the inside of the home, but is there someone who can assist with the outside? Material choices, paint choices, etc. Just curious.


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Right side of house.


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Upstairs Boys and Girls rooms and small media room with washer and dryer and storage area. We are making a counter over the washer and dryer and it will have cabinet fronts to conceal them. This area will have bookshelves and seating and storage for games,etc.

Sorry the pic is so small.


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"...I know there are interior decorators to help with the inside of the home, but is there someone who can assist with the outside? Material choices, paint choices, etc. Just curious..."

This what architects do, along with lots of other interested folks. You've been getting pretty good advice so far. Your major decision at this point may be what is the palette of exterior materials. Once that decision is made, finishes (paint, pre-finished materials, roofing, etc.) can be studied and developed. It's likely that the color of your selected stone masonry will determine all of the other finishes, in order to have a unified and harmonious exterior.

FWIW, I'd leave the roof pitch on the small connecting structures as proposed. It looks like it approximates the front porch roof pitch, and, if so, would help establish some consistency for these roofs. I wouldn't give up any windows on your second level in order to increase the smaller roof pitches.

Good luck!


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Thank you virgilcarter. You have and continue to be most helpful! I really like our architect, but she seems to want to leave those decisions up to us. She has done the layout, and wants to get things wrapped up. She hasn't completed all of the electrical, etc. yet, so I still have time to make some changes. Maybe she really trusts us, but we don't trust us. Ha! I was initially tempted to find a home that was already built and just do what they did, but my DH wanted originality. I think that can come with a price, but here we are.... I did find a pic of a home that is considerably larger than ours, but this home is similar in style. I am posting it here. I like the exterior stone and the front steps. I like the lower front windows and the white siding on the connecting rooms. Our porch is different, and I am still wondering what material to use for the overhang. The architect recommended metal roofing, but I wonder if there are any other choices that would look better.


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In re the stone posted at Sat, Nov 3, 12 at 12:31, we recently selected stone for a project and a sample that looked like that was called "Pennsylvania Fieldstone". Having grown up in that state, i think it is apt, but I am not sure if it is a common term.


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I would do metal roofing like in the Nashville picture. It looks like copper maybe? But a copper look one would work too since copper is so high right now.

I would do white or cream on the dogtrots. Here is a picture in the link below of mythreesonsnc's house. She did a dark cream/greige. It is pretty - about halfway down the thread.

I still vote to raise the pitch on the dogtrots. It doesn't seem to relate to the rest of the house and the one on the left looks even lower than the one on the right. You will see in the Norman Askins house you posted that they don't match, so I guess they don't have too, but I also wouldn't want it to look flat.

I hear you about the window but there is a squarer version of those 4 pane window casements - we have several of them. You can see one on the bump out of our garage (it how has a shutter on one side of it as you show - it was made wrong and had to be remade).

Front elevation, Uploaded with Snapbucket

Here is a link that might be useful: Colors


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That is a very nice home athensmomof3. Thank you. I love the lower windows on the main section. What is the white material at the bottom of them? Wood? I have never seen windows like those. The top windows look like double hung. You had mentioned that our top windows should be double hung. The top middle window is a challenge. What is it with me and windows? The architect just informed me that she raised the pitch on the connecting rooms. When I get the pdfs, I'll post it for your thoughts. Thanks so much everyone. I am ready to get to the building process, but I really want to get this first part right.


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Choosing roofing materials may often be confusing, given the wide range of options. I suggest you choose your stone siding first, followed by roofing. Work with your architect to look at stone samples and pick what is appealing and in your budget.

Stone ranges from more casual (random field stone sizes, shapes and colors) to more refined (similar shapes, sizes and colors). Then there's the issue of "dry-stack" or grouted masonry. This decision should be based on the climate, moisture, snow and ice where you will build. In hard climates, grouted masonry is the proven way to go. In very temperate climates, dry-stack provides an option.

Selection of stone depends greatly on regional availability--so it's important to look at local stone sources, rather than falling in love with something in a magazine. Be sure to see and handle the actual masonry. Photos simply will not let you see what the stone work will look like at various times of day, in full light and shadow. Be sure to place the stone samples vertically when you evaluate them, just as they will be on the house. The light plays very differently when the stones are horizontal.

Roofing options abound: slate (or slate substitutes), metal, wood shingles or shakes, and textured "architectural" asphalt shingles. The budget ranges from high to low in the order described. Again, work with your architect for samples and budgets. To my mind, all roofing (house and porch) on the main structure should be the same material. If you change the wall material on the adjacent structures, left and right, you could also change the roofing materials, which would suggest that the left and right structures were build at another point in time, as is the historical precedent for many such buildings. IMO, the roofing on all left and right structures should be identical (as should the wall materials), whatever choice you make.

IMO, the photo above, posted by gaonmymind, provides one good example of what the exterior could be, for the main structure, that is both historically-based and pleasing to the eye for such a design.

If this were my house, my approach would be to make the house a reasonable reproduction house, mimicing the way in which such houses were often built, i.e., the center portion built first, and the left and right structures built later, perhaps generations apart with slightly different aesthestics than the original structure, but with a pleasing overall harmony.

Good luck!


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That is a very nice home athensmomof3. Thank you. I love the lower windows on the main section. What is the white material at the bottom of them? Wood? I have never seen windows like those. The top windows look like double hung. You had mentioned that our top windows should be double hung. The top middle window is a challenge. What is it with me and windows? The architect just informed me that she raised the pitch on the connecting rooms. When I get the pdfs, I'll post it for your thoughts. Thanks so much everyone. I am ready to get to the building process, but I really want to get this first part right.


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Those are french doors across the front. Very narrow -18" wide per door. We also have two more on the right side - dining room - so we have two on each wall of the dining room. They are simply raised panels and look the same on the interior. They are not operational and are actually side lights mulled together to look like doors. They have an exterior mull like a regular french door. This saved us 3k per door!!! Fine with us because we will never open them. The windows will have panels inside so the lack of hinges will go unnoticed once they are hung. . .

This is what they look like from inside - hard to get a picture of the panels because the table is in the way. There are two more on the other wall. Not decorated yet in here so ignore the hodge podge.

Uploaded with Snapbucket

Our windows and doors are aluminum clad by Kolbe and Kolbe.


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Thank you for the picture of the windows athensmomof3. I really like them. Our architect has informed us that she is finished with the plans. She sent some pdf's today, but I am still not pleased with the back exterior. I am thinking of getting another architect to help with the back portion of the home. I hate to do that, but I think our architect is finished, and wants to move on to the other homes that she is working on. I can't blame her though, seeing that we did change lots and therefore had to alter the exterior of our plan. We were building on 17 acres in the country, but my parents are in need of care so we decided to build out near them. Our property shrunk down to 3 acres and we now have homes on either side of us. My parents home is behind us. Sorry for the long explanation, but it threw our architect off a bit when we had to take a farmhouse house plan and adapt it to a neighborhood. It didn't fit so she ended up changing the front exterior of the home, but now the back looks odd. One good thing is that she did change the roof pitches of the connecting rooms. It does look a bit better as you will see on the pic. Oh, she also flipped the plan, because she thinks it will look better on the lot. It weirded me out at first. :-) She hasn't changed the exterior materials yet, because we are still deciding on those.

As far as the roof over the porch, virgilcarter recommends that the roofs on the main section match as well as the roofs on the additional sections match each other. On the pic that gaonmymind posted, it looks like the roof over the porch is metal. I think it looks good, but would another material look better?


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It looks so much better!!! I would definitely do metal on the porch. That sort of low slung porch looks best with a metal roof. I wouldn't like asphalt or shake or slate on it at all - but that is just my preference.

Flipping the house is strange - we did that to ours too - but you will get used to it. I thought I never would because not only did we flip it, it ended up being the exact opposite of the house we lived in for 12 years - dining room on opposite side of foyer, bedroom on opposite side of den, etc.

Good luck with the rest of the house design process - it is such an important step and you are right to get it right!


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carbro, I love your house! I think you are definitely on the right track with the changes you're making.

Mixing so many different materials can certainly be challenging, and in order to get that good "feel," it really has to be done right. That's why I want to use a designer early in the process, if I can afford it, because I just don't trust myself to make the right decisions. I know it's right when I see it (like the house below), but I don't always know what exactly to choose to get to that point.

I agree about the brick and shingle perhaps not being the right materials to go along with the stone for your house.

These are some photos of my neighbor's house, which I absolutely love. Hers is also a rambling, new "old" colonial farmhouse, which was supposed to look like many different additions over time. They used several different materials (stone, clapboard, both copper and shake roof), and I think it's one of the nicest exteriors I've ever seen. They also used a mix on their small guest house, which is only about 1200 sq ft, and it also looks fabulous and not too overdone.

Stone with stucco (what you are calling plaster cement) also looks fabulous. One of my other neighbors has a similar style house that he remodeled, where the original (center) structure was stucco, and he added on a clapboard and stone addition.

Some inspiration photos for you:

IMG_2298a

IMAGE_BD391CF2-541A-4ED9-907D-14B28B1C4B17.JPG

IMAGE_5F1E49CB-53C9-4B0C-B84C-6181946ACF35.JPG

IMAGE_18A83904-2FAD-487E-BC3E-0E4D18204899.JPG

Guest House:

IMAGE_622F0797-1EEC-4CB9-9296-C62DC98F2C03.JPG


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Wow jenswrens! I have never seen a house like that. It is a good visual to use in order for me to see what the lap siding looks like next to the stone. Thank you for taking the time to post these! Yes, I am like you in that I have a hard time imagining what a house will look like when I am looking at it in 2-D. I am hoping that with the help of many other's "eyes", that this home will look good when we complete it. It would be nice to know the name of the stone that they used on this house. I really like it. If you know them, could you ask for me? Also, I am curious about the stone section hidden behind the tree. Is that a bay window on the stone? I am still not satisfied with the way our garage looks. It seems to be too large, but it does have a playroom and an office above it. We gave up our basement when we switched lots, so we had to go up instead of down. I am still wanting to see if we can change the front exterior of the garage somehow.

I am glad that you like our home so far. It is still a work in progress. I can be my own worst critic, so it does help to hear the positives.


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The architect changed the brick to wood siding, so I will update a pic for you when I get the pdfs. It was suggested that we raise the windows in the garage, but I was told that it can't be done because there is a room above the garage. Does anyone have any other garage window suggestions? Thanks


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"Room above the garage...can't raise the garage windows..."? Looking at the front elevation, there is a second floor in the main house, but the first floor windows are raised! Does this mean the first floor of the house has 10' ceilings throughout the house and the garage has an 8' ceiling? If so, the explanation is understandable. If not, something doesn't add up, since all of the window heads in the house are consistently aligned.

If the house does have 10' ceilings, then there's no way to align house and garage window heads with the difference in ceiling height. If the garage windows are bothersome, there are a couple of choices: 1) bring the garage roof dormer down to the ground by projecting it out 1'-0 and unify windows on second and first levels with trim and detail; 2) raise the garage window head by framing it flush with the top wall plate at the first floor stud wall (a header for the window opening can replace the bottom wall plate framing member); 3) eliminate the garage windows on that elevation. It does seem odd that the two garage windows have shutters, calling greater attention to themselves, while no other house windows on that elevation appear to have shutters.

Good luck with your project.


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Thank you again virgilcarter for your continued expert input! The main level of the house ceilings are 10'. The garage is on a slab 28 in. below the main level of the house and its ceilings are 10' as well.
I am posting a pic of the front and rear elevations. The front is definitely improving. The fixed french doors are going back to casements per my DH's request. He thinks it takes away from the stone - too busy in the front with columns, stone, porch ceiling, etc. His opinion is that the stone should make a statement. The rear still needs some changes. It is getting better, but we still have a few more things to get right.


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Rear Elevation


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A very handsome house, front and rear. Congratulations--your perserverance is paying good dividends!

Good luck with your project!


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Thank you to everyone for all of your advice/help over the past 7 days! Our architect has finished and is signing off on our plans today. I will probably ask a draftsman that we know to look over these plans for us, and to help with some of the smaller changes. This forum has been an invaluable resource, and I am truly thankful for it. I will be back in the near future with some updates, and probably with a few more questions. So don't go away virgilcarter. :-) Thanks for your encouragement!


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